LAME (Lame Ain't an MP3 Encoder) is the recommended encoder. It has been developed by the open-source community since 1998, and has become the highest quality MP3 encoder for most purposes.
Some benefits for using LAME:
- Highly optimised presets
- Fast encoding
- CBR, ABR and VBR encoding methods
- Gapless playback with LAME-header compliant decoders
- Exact Audio Copy (EAC) and CDex support
LAME development began around mid-1998. Mike Cheng started it as a patch against the 8hz-MP3 encoder sources. After some quality concerns raised by others, he decided to start from scratch based on the dist10 sources. That branch (a patch against the reference sources) became LAME 2.0, and only on LAME 3.81 they got rid of all dist10 code, making LAME a completely new program-not a mere patch of an existing encoder.
The project quickly became a team effort. Mike Cheng eventually left leadership and started working on tooLAME, an MP2 encoder. Mark Taylor became leader and released version 3.0 featuring gpsycho, a new psychoacoustic model developed by him.
Nowadays LAME is considered the best MP3 encoder at mid-high bitrates and features the best VBR model among MP3 implementations, mostly thanks to the dedicated work of talented developers like Takehiro Tominaga, Naoki Shibata, Darin Morrison, Gabriel Bouvigne, Robert Hegemann, etc. And development is still going on...